philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology

22Oct/17Off

AdHawk’s Tiny Sensors Could Enable Much Smaller VR Headsets And AR Glasses

adhawk-4 adhawk-2The Kitchener, Canada-based company has raised $4.6 million in a funding round led by Intel. AdHawk Microsystems said that its smaller, faster, more power-efficient motion-tracking solutions will render camera-based eye tracking obsolete. And they will pave the way for a new generation of highly immersive AR/VR experiences.

So far, most eye-tracking systems, like Tobii’s products, have relied on cameras.

Unlike camera-based eye-tracking that needs to be tethered to a computer, the AdHawk system can be embedded in AR/VR headsets or glasses and worn comfortably all day.

AdHawk can capture thousands of data points per second, enabling a system based on the chips to be able to predict where a user will look next, leading to more immersive AR/VR experiences.

AdHawk’s eye-tracker replaces the cameras with ultra-compact micro-electromechanical systems — known as MEMS — that are so small they can’t be seen by the naked eye. These MEMS eliminate power-hungry image processing altogether, resulting in big improvements in speed and efficiency and size.

The AdHawk can predict where an eye will move up to 50 milliseconds (50 one-thousandths of a second) in advance.

See the full story here: https://uploadvr.com/adhawks-tiny-sensors-could-enable-much-smaller-vr-headsets-and-ar-glasses/

22Oct/17Off

Tactai wants to bring better touch feedback to virtual reality

Tactai’s technology goes further than past touch feedback — or haptic — devices since it gives you a much more fine-grained sense of what you’re touching, based on a demo I saw. Tactai hopes to be part of the standard technologies in the next set of VR devices.

“We want to bring a rich sense of touch into the digital world to empower our interactions in a unique way,” said Steven Domenikos, cofounder and CEO of Tactai, in an interview with GamesBeat.

Waltham, Mass.-based Tactai has created software that shows off its “ultra high-fidelity haptics.”

In the demo, which you can see in the video, Domenikos used a standard pen input device to allow me to feel the texture of objects that I touched. When he activated the software associated with a stone tile, I moved the pen over the screen showing the stone tile. It felt rough and bumpy, just like real stone. The pen vibrated and enabled me to feel the sensations.

22Oct/17Off

MIT — Rethinking the realities of Augmented Reality

"Safe" means security, user safety, and dealing with the new range of unknown that AR offers.

MIT is looking at practical security issues, like malicious software, physical risks to users, corruption of information, and all the other wonderful things we've come to expect from any kind of software. (The MIT article is much too short; it does address all relevant points, but really needed more space.) As MIT points out, one of the most critical issues with AR is its immersive nature. Users are almost literally glued to AR in ways other technologies simply cannot approach

20Oct/17Off

Portland startup wants to bring augmented reality to the home services business

The Streem app allows home services pros — think plumbers, appliance repair technicians and electricians — to invite their clients to the service that allows them to virtually assess a situation before making a house call.

Using the app, a homeowner can show a repair person the problem, and that home services pro can annotate the image with arrows and notes. The software also captures an image of the item in question and can run analysis to grab pertinent information that the home services pro will need, such as serial numbers. It could also make a model of an item, so they can show up to a job prepared with the right tools and parts.

See the full story here: https://www.bizjournals.com/portland/news/2017/10/19/portland-startup-wants-to-bring-augmented-reality.html

20Oct/17Off

Digital Domain, Qualcomm partner in virtual reality push

Hugo Swart, the senior director for product management at Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Atheros, said the company provides “the mobile chips tailored for virtual reality, the software and [headset] reference design”, which ultimately need matching content from Digital Domain.

Digital Domain already provides content to Deutsche Telekom’s virtuality reality platform Magenta VR, which bundles content from the fields of sports, music and entertainment.

Chou said the partnership shows that mobile operators can provide relevant and new services to their subscribers as their networks transition to 5G.

See the full story here: http://www.scmp.com/tech/enterprises/article/2115956/digital-domain-qualcomm-partner-virtual-reality-push

20Oct/17Off

Who Is Thinking About Security and Privacy for Augmented Reality?

franziska.roesnerIn my view, what sets AR apart from other technologies is its immersive nature: it allows technology to directly mediate a person’s perception of and interaction with the physical world. From the perspective of how we might use AR for good, this presents exciting opportunities; but it also makes security and safety concerns much more pressing, and potentially dangerous, compared with any issues raised by more traditional technologies like phones or laptops, which don’t directly affect our view of reality.

Franziska Roesner is an assistant professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, where she co-directs the Security & Privacy Research Lab.

See the full story here: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609143/who-is-thinking-about-security-and-privacy-for-augmented-reality/

20Oct/17Off

NZ virtual reality and augmented reality sector gains foothold

graeme-muller-2The New Zealand virtual reality and augmented reality (VRAR) industry sector is forecasting revenues of more than $320 million in two years.

This is the key finding of a report commissioned by the  New Zealand Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Association (NZVRARA), which is a part of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.

The report says more than 1100 full time equivalent staff are currently employed in the sector in New Zealand and is conservatively estimated to double in two years.

“We have researchers operating at the peak of the industry such as Victoria University and Christchurch’s HIT Lab NZ.

See the full story here: https://www.cio.co.nz/article/628824/nz-virtual-reality-augmented-reality-sector-gains-foothold/

20Oct/17Off

Lucyd: the First Practical Ethereum Blockchain-Based Augmented Reality Smartglasses

Image-1Over the last few years, Lucyd and the rest of its research team have obtained 13 patents at its premier optics facility at the University of Central Florida. With the assistance of Lucyd science advisors including Dr. Rolland and its AR team, the company has come close to creating the world’s first compact and practical AR display that can be connected to the Lucyd Lab AR and Ethereum blockchain networks to run decentralized applications.

Lucyd researchers explained that the Lucyd smartglasses will have smartphone-like use cases and applications that would allow consumers to seamlessly use the smart glasses in day-to-day operations.

See the full story here: https://coinjournal.net/sponsored-lucyd-the-first-practical-ethereum-blockchain-based-augmented-reality-smartglasses/

20Oct/17Off

Samsung’s 360 Round: 4K Camera Live-Streams 3D for VR

Samsung_360_Round_VRThe Samsung 360 Round (above), which weighs 4.25 pounds, doesn’t yet have a price, but it will cost more than the $125 consumer-facing Gear 360 VR camera. It will, however, capture full 3D audio and offer “low-latency for live-streaming, one-step stitching, and simple editing functions.” Each of the 17 cameras will have “a 1/2.8-inch, 2 megapixel image sensor and f/1.8 lens,” and the new camera also offers “six audio microphones, LAN or USB-C connectivity, 10GB RAM and 40GB of internal storage, with expansion slots for more.”

See the full story here: http://www.etcentric.org/samsungs-360-round-4k-camera-live-streams-3d-for-vr/

20Oct/17Off

The Company Bringing the Farm Right to the Table

1600x-1On Wednesday, the restaurant adds its newest piece of kitsch. Nestled between the entrance and the bar, above an interior window, sits a rectangular box emanating blue light. It’s filled with extraterrestrial looking life forms: mushrooms.

Designed and built by Smallhold, a Brooklyn-based, certified-organic, “distributed farming” startup, the “Minifarm” has been in the works for months. If all goes according to plan, blue, yellow and pink oysters, king and pioppino mushrooms will replace varieties such as beech, button and enoki in Dimayuga’s beef jerky fried rice. Dimayuga beamed with excitement. “A just-picked mushroom tastes the best.”

The fungi begin their life in Smallhold’s Bushwick headquarters and partner farms outside New York, in bags filled with such waste products as sawdust and coffee grounds. After three to four weeks, they are then transferred to Minifarms like that of Mission Chinese to finish growing. Harvesting on-site gives the mushrooms a longer shelf life, in addition to what Smallhold said is competitive pricing. Unlike other experiments in urban agriculture, the Minifarm uses very little space. The system, according to the company, is simply a better way to grow and distribute food.

A small Minifarm starts at $2,000, measures 4-feet wide by 2-feet deep, stands 6-feet tall and can produce up to 2,300 pounds of mushrooms a year. Inside, Wi-Fi and embedded sensors allow Smallhold to constantly monitor growth and adjust inputs such as lighting and temperature. Restaurant clients put a deposit on the machine and pay a monthly subscription fee, plus a price—from $5 to $12 per pound—for the produce.

See the full story here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-10-11/the-company-bringing-the-farm-right-to-the-table